Each Alaska senator has an approximate limit on capital budget spending for projects in his or her district — how they spend it is up to them.
Anchorage schools are getting nearly $4.9 million in additional funding from the capital budget. Fairbanks has just over $150,000 headed its way.
Juneau schools aren’t so lucky. There’s nothing in the capital budget for them.
“We can only do so much,” said Sen. Dennis Egan, D-Juneau. “Every project is a need, I don’t argue with that, it’s just trying to prioritize some of this stuff.
“Ultimately, it’s up to the co-chairs of Senate Finance about what projects get in,” he added.
In the draft capital budget, Juneau will receive $93.6 million, $8.04 million more than the governor initially proposed.
The $93.6 million includes $35 million for the Juneau Access project, but not $37.5 million for the State Library, Archive and Museum project. It’s considered a statewide effort.
Of the approximately $8 million added by legislators to the governor’s proposed capital budget, $2 million will pay for improvements to the Last Chance Basin — which supplies Juneau’s drinking water — and the Salmon Creek Water Treatment facility. Another $4.3 million will go to improvements at the University of Alaska Southeast.
Juneau Republican Rep. Cathy Muñoz said the delegation — herself, Egan and Rep. Sam Kito III, D-Juneau — met in early March to prioritize requests from their districts, which include Skagway, Petersburg and Gustavus as well as Juneau.
“When we get together we don’t take up what the governor has already put into the budget,” Muñoz said. “We review all of the projects that are not in the governor’s budget and then rank those.”
She added that securing the $2 million for water projects was one of Juneau’s top priorities.
Jesse Kiehl, City and Borough Assemblyman and legislative staff to Egan, said their office received about $165 million in capital project requests.
The Juneau School District sent only two requests: $60,000 for new video conferencing equipment and $580,000 for a new elementary language arts curriculum. Neither request was granted.
Muñoz told the Empire that if the JSD had submitted multiple smaller requests for individual need, they probably would have secured some extra funding from the state.
In comparison, the Anchorage School District had 58 individual funding requests included in the capital budget for a total of nearly $4.9 million.
Tok’s school district got $48,500, $77,000 went to the Mat-Su district and the Copper River School District got $275,000 in the budget.
The figures revealed Monday are not final and may change before the Legislature adjourns for the year.
That deadline is in 11 days.